As I was desperately trying to update my backdated the blog late into the night, I barely got a couple hours sleep when waking up at 6am. Problem was, Jiajia got 0 hours of sleep as she was suffering from a bout of food poisoning, which I was just recovering from but hers seemed to deteriorate….more on this later.
Catching a flight in the new Kunming International Airport which opened June of this year, it was a pretty cool sight as you drove up towards the simple lines of the massive building (which, I just discovered, is designed by a rather famous firm whose also doing 1 WTC…$). Again, as with most 2nd/3rd tier Chinese cities, there’s some ridiculously optimistic infrastructure investment that looks nice and modern, but when you’re inside the building looks severely underused with barely anybody….
After an outrageously overpriced breakfast consisting of a coffee and a waffle which cost $20USD as 8 workers stood around looking at me strangely when I asked for a fork to eat with, we sat around before boarding. One extremely cool thing about flying into Kathmandu is that, you fly over the Himalayas, but some of its peaks actually stand above the clouds! How crazy is that? We sat on the ‘wrong’ side of the plane, so we didn’t see Everest but did see Annapurna, which we’ll soon get an up-close view as we trek at its footsteps!!
Arriving in the Kathmandu airport and changing our watches back 2hrs+15mins (what a strange timezone!), the airport reminded me of my high school in terms of both size, age and brick colour!! It was a pretty massive change from the massive, modern look of Kunming’s airport and into something like this. Getting out of the airport, we were offered a free shuttle into town if we stayed at their advertised hotel at $15USD. Sure, we thought, but once you arrive you get the bait-and-switch, as they’ve ran out of $15 rooms and only have $20 rooms. We haggled our way down to $18, and didn’t bother as we weren’t feeling too good and didn’t really want to bother arguing for the price of some Kraft Dinner.
The streets of Kathmandu are very ‘developing Asian country’, and those whose traveled to those countries would probably understand. The first rule of driving, is that there are no rules to driving. The roads are peculiar and never straight, dust is fluttering in the air as mopeds weave their way between every inch of space available on the road. It looks like the city is still under construction…? There are also no street names, street numbers nor street sights, as all stores are located in “Thamel”!!!!! HOW DOES A CITY FUNCTION LIKE THIS!?!?!? All streets look very similar, and it’s going to be hard to figure out how to get around the town, but at least people are friendly and are willing to help if asked nicely.
Walking to catch a meal, we were flagged down by a woman and her child saying (in perfect English): “Sir, I don’t want any money, but I need milk for baby”. Not being able to say no to “milk” and “for baby”, we walked into the convenience store she headed into, and from here on we all know where this is going. The owner takes out a box of ridiculously large package of overpriced milk, that looked like milk powder for tea! Ha ha, so we’re liky “WTF is this, your baby drinks tea?” and she backed off the large package with a smaller, less expensive pack of actual baby formula. At this point, we figured out the scam (which was confirmed after reading Lonely Planet more closely) and quickly GTFO.
Nepali streets are lined with signs and billboards geared towards tourists, so it is rather hard to weed out the crap from the less crap. One way, is to spot the place with the most foreigners that look happy, and we found this little courtyard and sat down for a decent burger and coffee. Yay western food! After lunch, we headed back to our hotel but quickly the lunch in Jiajia’s stomach came back up, and we headed to the hospital to get checked up.
Hopefully, after some meds she’ll feel better… it’s never good to be sick, especially in exotic locales…..